14 October 2011

Beware the Internet Police

I am a marked man. You may remember my last Wet Sponge Report where I suggested a few options regarding Climate Change. Well those comments have made alarm bells ring at some computerised office somewhere in the world. Here some people obviously think it is worth while to spend money trawling the internet for Climate Change commentaries. Their system analyses the surrounding text and assesses the tone and whether the website is pro or anti Climate Change.

They have decided in their wisdom that my blog has a -0.80 tone with a 6.42% polarising effect. This means I am apparently against Climate Change by 0.8% with a 6.42% emotive force. i.e. a wet sponge. No surprise there.

So I thought I’d make their efforts more worthwhile by being a bit less sluggish in my opinions and go out and say Climate Change is fantastic!!! Go Go Go Climate Change! Isn’t it great that the climate can change so easily? If it didn’t where would the seasons go? I totally agree with Climate Change. Etc. etc.

I don’t wish to bore you (too late) with more of this positivity about Climate Change so I will discuss the issue really here and that is internet watchdogs. The CO2 Capture Rpt is probably just one of many organisations out there continuously trawling the internet for catch phrases that signify a possible threat or bonus to their existence. I am also guilty of this by using Google to search for IVRRAC throughout the entire web to see if there are comments or cheap offers for my book. One of the bonuses of having an Acronym title is the uniqueness of the search. BOAS, although also an acronym, will not be so easily researched when it comes out as it is also a well used word.

Apart from being asked “Did you mean ivac?” by Google I still get about 7,230 results which end up to be only 300 odd actual results. This was how I stumbled upon the report mentioned above. But from this search I find out that Sony ebookstore has it as five stars and apparently I reviewed the book for them. This was one of the reasons I have retracted IVRRAC from Smashwords as their information passed onto the internet stores is not one hundred per cent accurate. (The five stars is, of course, that I reviewed the book isn’t).

I always knew that including certain words together in one message is not a good idea, like “Bomb” and “Aeroplane” oops. I think I’m safe though as I gather in America it is spelt airplane so I won’t light up any warning lights at the CIA. But now I realise that the CIA are not the only people out there watching me. So do I now shut up and remain silent in the hope these watchful eyes never see me, or do I disappoint you and keep on blogging anyway? I think the latter as I think what I think and if some people don’t like it, they can post a comment on this blog. A good blog discussion always brings in more readers.

My only hope (okay not the only one) is that the Hollywood directors use similar trawling methods and that one day they’ll stumble upon this blog and think to themselves “Hmmm this book will make a great movie!” I mean that is why we authors write books, isn’t it?  To get us a movie deal?


Cheers and Blessings







11 October 2011

When clouds were just fluffy things in the skies and mainframes were becoming obsolete.

My head is definitely not in the clouds, or should I say my computer is not involved in cloud computing. One thing that always intrigues me is the capability of the internet marketing people to take something that has been around for decades, re-label it with another name and sell it for thousands more than its worth. The internet is a prime example, I would imagine quite a few people would be surprised to learn that the internet was around in the late sixties. Though it wasn’t until it was repackaged as the World Wide Web with nifty domain names in the nineties that it became the popular beast it is now.


Just redesign a bulletin board, an electronic notice board that was downloaded onto home computers via the phone line before the internet was so popular, so each user has their own board, complete with pictures and internet links, call it Facebook and make millions.  Take IRC (Internet Relay Chat), a place for real computer geeks to spend their time, limit the amount of characters per chat, remove the chat room walls so everyone has to read everyone else’s comments no matter what the subject and call it Twitter, another way to remarket and make billions. And there are many more examples of this in our internet world. It is now, and perhaps always has been, how well you market an idea, not how original or useful that idea is.. No disrespect to the skills of the creators of Facebook or Twitter, they both saw an opportunity and took it, and that in itself is a great skill.


When I went to university in the mid eighties I was given a password to the “Cantran” system. It was an operating system built on a Digital PDP-11 (developed 1969). I will admit I was the last year to use the system as the next intake were trained on a Novel 1.1 IBM PC based network, the latest in technology, large personal computers made out of cast iron with approximately 1 megabyte of memory. The university saw the writing on the wall and realised that with processors and memory getting cheaper the personal computer was the future.


Getting back to the PDP-11, this was what was known as a “Mini-Computer.” It only took up the space of three huge filing cabinets, compared to the mainframes upstairs which took up a room the size of a large lounge each. I was introduced to the mainframes in my second year. How a mainframe or mini-computer worked was that the major processing power and all memory storage was located in the mainframe/mini-computer and the machine used to access this power was a dumb terminal (or in a few cases as Apple gave free technology to the university Apple Macs pretending to be a dumb terminal, which was not hard for them to do back then). It seemed logical to invest the capital into one central location so one could get the most power for their money. It also meant backups could be created of all information centrally as the dumb terminals were not capable of storing data.


As the years wore on people became increasingly weary of having to dial up to a central computer and so when powerful computers became affordable to the general public there was a move away from central storage and towards independent computers. The idea of a central storage and processing unit was lost, that is until the internet became popular. Then start up companies started hiring out online storage “We’ll back up your data for you” they said. Then when the internet became more stable people started asking “Why do I need to store locally at all?” Especially when cheap small-storage machines as net-books, phones and tablets became available.


This is when the marketing experts stepped in and realised that this was a marketing goldmine. But they had to make it seem new, saying to people “Why not sign up to our Mainframes?” seemed a bit archaic, even though that is exactly what they were saying, so they invented the term “Cloud Computing” and marketed that. So I have to say I used Cloud Computing in the mid eighties using a 1960s computer, and I much rather have my PC with localised storage and processing power any day. I am not scared of new technology, I’m scared of old technology proven to have issues dressed up as new technology.


My question here is what happens if a virus takes the internet down for an hour or so? Which has happened in the past and can happen again in the future. I remember a great quote in a Time Magazine about the “I Love You” virus, a virus that did cripple the internet for a while. (Not an exact quote as I have not yet sourced the article to quote from so it is purely from memory). “The ‘I Love You’ virus was written by a person who did not have a clue about what they were doing or programming languages, it was a mixture of various virus programme codes and was lucky to have worked at all. Imagine the damage that could be done by someone who actually knows what they are doing?” And that was before the internet was underpinning the whole world as it is now, and Cloud Computing will make the world even more reliant on the internet being stable without disruption.


I predicted a return to mainframe mentality in my book “BORIS” (written around 1999) which is now under the working title of “CRAIG” due to the original title being too close to “BOAS” in sound. It is an acronym so may change yet again before publish date. In the original the return to mainframe was a result of the internet being mortally wounded by a virus and a computer company took the opportunity to capture the market by offering a internet like environment on their mainframe. Now I will be looking more into a Cloud computing company buying out all other cloud computing companies to obtain a monopoly that way. (Or producing a product that is so popular everyone buys it, but it only can be used on one cloud computing system) that last one is very tempting but possibly too close to home.


Anyway the story follows a reporter who discovers a major flaw in trusting one’s files to the care of a large multinational company and many other nasty things on the way to clear his own name after he is wrongfully accused of several major crimes. I will be working on this one after BOAS, so you will hear more about it later. It is very similar in style to IVRRAC.


Cheers and Blessings



09 October 2011

IVRRAC in France and Shaking in Christchurch

I have just been informed by Amazon that IVRRAC is now available on the French Amazon Site (http://www.amazon.fr/IVRRAC-ebook/dp/B00359FETK) for 0.99 Euros. This is available to residents in France, Belgium and Monaco. It has been available in Germany on the amazon.de site since the end of April and I have managed to sell one copy over there. I take that as an achievement as it is not translated so the customer base is limited to those who wish to read books in a foreign language. But tell any French, Belgium, Monaco or German friends that they can now buy Kindle books on their Amazon sites. Of course it won’t hurt to tell them about IVRRAC either.


On another note you may recall that I predicted a large earthquake in Christchurch in October. Well to be precise I’ll quote my blog – “I now feel a big shakeup is going to occur in the latter end of the first week of October.” Well it is actually the second week of October by two days, but could be considered as the latter end of the first week by a little stretch and Christchurch has undergone a 5.5 earthquake on the exact fault I was expecting with my prediction. The good news is that this tme it was deeper than the others and so not much damage has been reported. The NZ Prime Minister was in Christchurch watching the NZ vs Argentina rugby game on a huge television screen and was reported to be quite shaken. This match was scheduled to be played in Christchurch but due to major earthquake damage of the main stadium it was shifted to Auckland. It turns out that it was a good decision to move the game to Auckland after all.


Actually there was a 4.8 yesterday as well which was closer to my prediction. But in true Peter fashion I did not feel either of them. This final shake occurred as I drove home from church after watching the Australia vs South Africa rugby game and the final few laps of Bathurst (delayed coverage) where the first and second cars came in at a small nail biting 0.29 second difference. Our kids were very tired and thus we could not stay for the NZ game.


Well that’s the news today.


Cheers and Blessings





05 October 2011

More Excuses

Readers who are patiently (or perhaps not so patiently) waiting for the completion of BOAS will not be happy to hear I have entered myself into a corporate rowing challenge and thus have even less time to spend writing at my computer. This challenge requires the majority of the rowers to be novices at racing, in fact on our team we have a majority of people who never had been in an eight man canoe (is that the right term?) before, including myself. So our first attempt on Monday was very interesting and painful (my legs are just getting over the cramps now).

Balance is the main issue, it is hard to get the oar in at just the right level when the boat is continuously tipping from one side to the other. I guess we will eventually get the hang of keeping the boat totally level especially when all eight are rowing. I would not hold my breath for our team winning the competition but at least we will get some good exercise out of it.

On the IVRRAC front I am pleased to say that there are more readers every day and though there has not been any fresh reviews for a while, over all, people are still giving it the thumbs up. I really appreciate a fair review (whether one star or five, though of course five is preferable).  If you have been fortunate enough to have read IVRRAC and have a spare moment, just pop into Amazon and place a review, many thanks. Also if you have any questions or comments on spoiler topics feel free to post on the In-depth Discussion blog connected to this blog. If I get a few good questions there I will invite Andrew from IVRRAC to reply to the more technical ones so you can get the answers direct from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Take this offer up as how often do you get to blog with a fictional character?

I am extremely tired tonight, all this physical exercise is bad for my late nights, so I must be off to bed.

Cheers and Blessings